I have a long history of being completely obsessed with home made pies. When I was just a wee little girl, someone had gifted my mum a set of 4 pie plates. They were ceramic with deep scalloped edges. Etched right on the inside of the plate were recipes for various pies including peach pie, rhubarb strawberry pie, apple pie and blueberry pie. We made many a pie in those lovely little plates dotted with hand painted fruits. Today, we crank out all sorts of pies at Frost on a regular basis and I have the same wide-eyed fascination of pies today as I did way back then. Flaky pastry crusts, cookie crumb crusts, sweet fruit fillings, savoury fillings, cream topped, meringue topped — the variety of pies I’ve made are as diverse as the pie plates I bake them up in, so it should come as no surprise that I’m always on the hunt for new pie recipes and forever playing with ingredients and flavour pairings to create delicious and interesting pies.
Whenever I’m playing around with new recipes, my mind always turns to flavours that pair well together. Certain flavours are simply meant to be together: P.B. and jelly, milk and cookies, spaghetti and meatballs, fish and chips, cheese and crackers, cupcakes and sprinkles…the list goes on. Of all the usual suspects, one of my favourite flavour pairings which, in my humble opinion, is under-utilized is coconut and date. Dates have so many applications, both savoury and sweet, and coconut has a wonderful warmth about it. It’s sweet and comforting and works perfectly with the nutty, robust date. To that end, I figured there was no better application for this flavour pairing than a delicious and decadent cream pie!
The base of this pie is a graham cracker crumb combined with pecans and coconut which become toasty and fragrant when baked. The pie is then filled with a layer of caramelized dates and then a sour cream layer. Finally, it is topped with a light and airy whipped cream and garnished with more toasted coconut, pecans, and dates! The dates and coconut in this are the perfect marriage of flavours which completely come alive in your mouth. If you’re reticent about the sour cream layer, let me assuage your concerns and put your hesitations at bay by telling you that the sour cream layer completely makes this pie. It is tangy and creamy and balances the sweetness of the pie beautifully.
I tried making this pie a few times varying the amount of dates and I reckon I got it just right. The dates make up a thin layer at the bottom of the pie but the pie itself is not very high so the other layers of sour cream and whipped cream don’t compete with the dates and allow their flavour to come out in every bite. If my childhood has taught me anything about pies, it’s that you should never turn down the opportunity to make or taste a freshly made pie — it’s happiness in a plate and, well, who would turn their nose up at that? 😉